Saturday, October 5, 2013

Introducing Easy Corn Chowder

September 28, 2013

Corn Chowder
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
Vella Chardonnay
Apple Pie

Foolproof Pie Crust (just double this recipe)

Like many culinary terms, "chowder" does not have a rigorous definition. The lines between soups and stews and chowders are blurry. Generally, chowders are thick, creamy soups usually including onions and potatoes and often fish or clams. Chowders are often eaten with saltine crackers (or oyster crackers) and frequently employ broken up crackers as a thickener.  It has been so for a long time, a recipe for Clam Chowder from The Every-Day Cook-Book by Miss E. Neil, published in 1891, does so.

My mom's recipe for Corn Chowder has been passed down through my youngest sister, Dena. Mom didn't remember where she got the recipe. Dena has made some changes and it is her version that I used. The recipe uses cream or half-and-half or milk; following Dena's recommendation I used cream. The resulting chowder was not too rich so I would stick with this choice. A full sleeve of saltines, soaked in the cream, thickened the chowder nicely.  The chowder was not too salty from the crackers, if anything it was too bland. It would benefit from more corn flavor than that provided by two cans of cream-style corn, more seasoning, and some added depth of flavor. The potatoes were good as was the consistency of the chowder. Once we're done with the 10 or so servings that we have, some of which we've frozen, I'll try out some of these ideas to add flavor and report on it in a future blog post.

I've been wanting to try the Test Kitchen's recipe for Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. The bread turned out well and we have been enjoying it. It takes a little planning as a biga is created the night before and some of the whole wheat flour is soaked overnight. These steps serve to enhance the whole wheat flavor in the bread. The bread was good with dinner and has been good for sandwiches and toasted for breakfast.

For my second apple dessert this Fall I made an apple pie. I still need more practice working with pastry but I think I'm improving and this pie came out very well. I used half golden delicious apples and half newtown pippins which were seasoned with just a little powdered cinnamon and allspice. Diane thought the filling needed more cinnamon and I thought it needed tarter apples. We're both remembering pies that our moms made and, consciously or not, comparing this pie to those we remember.

Food plays a central role in many of our memories of home and family. What we ate around the family table as we grew up has a tremendous influence on what foods we enjoy today. Food triggers memories of times long past. Collecting and sharing recipes connects generations.


  1. Hmmm. I remember commenting here with some thoughts, but I guess it didn't take. And I can't remember what my thoughts were. Something about using extra whole kernal corn or something . . .

    1. Maybe we discussed it someplace else, on Facebook or by e-mail?